News Releases

April 22, 2016: Former Art Dealer Charged With Theft of Paintings Worth More Than $1.8 Million

Greg Risling, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A former art dealer is facing grand theft charges for allegedly failing to pay more than $1 million to the owners of paintings sold through his gallery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Perry Rubenstein (dob 1/5/54) was charged in case BA444929 with three counts of grand theft by embezzlement. He is expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Marisa Zarate of the White Collar Crime Division is prosecuting the case.

In 2013, Rubenstein claimed he sold two paintings by artist Richard Prince for Michael Ovitz, totaling more than $1 million. In both instances, Rubenstein allegedly never paid his client and kept the proceeds.

In 2012, Rubenstein is accused of selling a painting by Takashi Murakami on behalf of Michael Salke but failed to turn over the full amount to him.

Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $1 million. If convicted as charged, Rubenstein faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Bunco-Forgery Division.